Governance Facts About the Paper Checkoff
From time to time I’ve noticed some confusion about the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB) and the way we operate, and our mission. Many of these topics are covered on our FAQ page, but it bears repeating here for the benefit of those interested in following, or writing about, our work.
Question: Is the Paper and Packaging Board taxpayer funded?
No. P+PB is not taxpayer funded. In fact, just the opposite is true. P+PB is funded entirely by members of the paper and packaging industry, which include privately and publicly held corporations of different structures and sizes. P+PB was created with the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the request of the paper and packaging industry. The enabling regulations that created the program spell out which types of companies fund the program. The requirements are posted on our website and are also accessible through the USDA website. Although USDA oversees the work of P+PB, the oversight is funded by P+PB. No taxpayer funds are used for the operation or oversight of P+PB.
Question: Does P+PB do any lobbying or government affairs work?
Never. P+PB is forbidden by law from engaging in any lobbying over government affairs activity. We simply don’t do it.
Question: How does P+PB use its budget?
Fully 95 percent of our budget goes to promotional efforts, including advertising and public relations, educational programs, partnerships/sponsorships, and research. Our annual budget including major spending categories is publicly shared on our website, as are the results of our annual, independent financial audit. And, all of our board meetings are open to the public with the exception of executive session.
Question: Why can’t anyone sit in on executive session?
Executive session is a routine component of organizational meetings from major corporations to nonprofit groups, from local school boards to homeowner associations. Executive session provides a venue for handling issues that are best discussed in private, for fostering robust discourse, and for strengthening trust and communication. USDA attends all of P+PB’s meetings, including executive sessions of the board.
Question: To whom is P+PB accountable?
We’re accountable to our board of directors, which governs us; to the members of the paper and packaging industry who provide our funding and who ultimately decide whether our work continues; and, to the USDA, for adhering to the laws and regulations under which our program was created/established. As noted earlier, we are also independently audited each year and the most recent audit is posted on our website. USDA also conducts regular management reviews to provide assurance the board’s controls (programmatic, financial and compliance) are designed effectively and function as intended to prevent the misuse of funds.
We are absolutely proud of the role paper and packaging products play in making our lives sustainable, productive and safe. Now more than ever.